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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
RIVERSIDE




SOME FRONTIERS OF TO-MORROW



AGENTS

AMERICA . . . THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

4 ft 66 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

AUSTRALASIA . OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

aoj FLINDERS LANE, MELBOURNE

CANADA .... THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA LTD.
ST. MARTIN'S HOUSE, 70 BOND STREBT, TORONTO

INDIA MACMILLAN & COMPANY LTD.

MACMILLAN BUILDING, BOMBAY

309 Bow BAZAAR STREET, CALCUTTA



SOME FRONTIERS
OF TO-MORROW

AN ASPIRATION FOR EUROPE



BY

L. W.

M.A., F.R.G.S.
Professor of Economic Geography in University College, London




PUBLISHED BY A. fcf C. BLACK LTD.

4, 5, AND 6 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.

1915



PREFACE

THIS little book is based on a lecture de-
livered to the Royal Geographical Society.
During the discussion that followed the
lecture two speakers suggested that reference
to such a subject was premature. I could not
admit that contention even then (December
1914) ; and the audience evidently not only
agreed with me, but also accepted my reason.
Previous discussion is an absolutely essential
preliminary to offering presently any sug-
gestions for a practical settlement. Nor
can we make any rational provision for the
immediate future without full consideration
of the recent past.

I am anxious, however, that this little
contribution to such discussion should not
seem to be presumptuous, especially in its
implicit assumption that the Central Empires
will be defeated. I will only say that to



vi PREFACE

very many of us life under its present burdens
would be almost intolerable if it were not
for our absolute conviction that victory will
never sanction a ruthless repudiation of
solemn International obligations and a
deliberate adoption of scientific savagery.
At the same time I am convinced that
Europe will sooner or later be settled on
some such lines as are here suggested.

I am much indebted to my friends, Mr.
J. J. Robinson and the Warden of Wadham
College, Oxford, for their kind help in
reading the proofs and making invaluable
suggestions.

I propose to devote any profits on the
book to the Wounded Allies' Relief Com-
mittee, Sardinia House, Kingsway, W.C.

L. W. L.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

PAGE

INTRODUCTORY ..... i

CHAPTER II

NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS . . 7

CHAPTER III

THE GEOGRAPHICAL KERNEL . . .21

CHAPTER IV

THE POWER OF ASSIMILATION . . -35

CHAPTER V

NORTHERN FRONTIERS . . . -55

CHAPTER VI

SOUTHERN FRONTIERS . . . -75

CHAPTER VII

GEOGRAPHIC CONTROL . . . . 113



MAPS



PAGE



WESTERN FRONTIERS . . 63

SCHLESWIG . . . . 65

EASTERN FRONTIERS . . . ... 73

SOUTHERN FRONTIERS . . . * n i

On these maps present frontiers are marked by dashes ,

and proposed changes by dots ; and when there are no dots,

the present frontiers are accepted.



SOME FRONTIERS OF
TO-MORROW

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTORY

As suggested in the Preface, this little book
is an attempt to provoke and, if possible,
to assist further discussion about desirable
political frontiers in Europe ; and it even
ventures to suggest definitely what they
should be. The articles of belief on which
it is based, are three :

(1) That political frontiers should be

national ;

(2) That where they cannot be national,

they should be assimilative ;

(3) That everywhere they should be, as far

as possible, anti-defensive.
By 4 national ' one means that the frontiers



2 INTRODUCTORY

should definitely represent the sentiment
and consciousness of the people within
them. It may be difficult to determine
the essential basis in some cases ; reckless
appeals to plebiscites in the backward
areas, where the difficulty will be greatest,
will almost certainly be failures ; in these
areas, too, the dynastic leanings of German
princes are emphasised by the political
events of recent years in Britain and France.
But nationality is the only basis for a long,
if not permanent, peace.

By ' assimilative ' one means that no
Power which has proved itself incapable of
assimilating alien types, should be allowed
to annex fresh land ; and any such Power
should be compelled to disgorge any un-
assimilated populations where there is un-
questionable evidence of their having been
grossly ill-treated.

By * anti-defensive ' one means that all
frontiers, as far as possible, should be identi-
fied with geographical features which are
associated naturally with the meeting of
peoples and persons in the ordinary routine
of peaceful intercourse. This involves a



IDEAL FRONTIERS 3

matter of fact which is beyond dispute
namely, that the most obvious and most
universal of such features is a navigable river.

On the contrary, although a common
language and a common literature, like
a common creed, obviously have a real
cementing power and value, there is no
justification for making language a test of
nationality. But the magnificent unity of
Belgium in spite of a language line running
right across the country from east to west
along the latitude of Waterloo makes it
unnecessary to elaborate the point.

At the same time, there would seem to
be some significance in the spread of a
language across a hostile frontier where
economic intercourse is at a minimum,
where the physical obstacle is very consider-
able, and where the official political opposi-
tion is at a maximum. This is the case
where French has spread eastward across
the crest of the Vosges, and is spoken in
many places by even 20 per cent., and in
some places by over 30 per cent., of the
population.

Nor is there any justification for making



4 INTRODUCTORY

' race,' in the narrow sense, a final test of
nationality. Again, Belgium, with its tall,
fair, long-headed Flemings on the northern
lowland, and its short, dark, round-headed
Walloons on the southern upland, gives a
conclusive answer ; and the evidence is only
strengthened, not weakened, by the proba-
bility that if the Flemings became Protest-
ant, they would unite politically with the
Dutch.

The only test acceptable is that of national
sentiment in the holding of common ideals.
These may be based partly on a whole
world of associations from an historic past of
things achieved, probably also on political
and economic principles epitomised in a
present national type, possibly even on a
passionate aspiration for a clearly pictured
future in which that type shall have reached
a certain standard of perfection.

Of all the diverse considerations, re-
ligion even in most parts of the Balkan
Peninsula, where the odium theologicum is
more poisonous than elsewhere is steadily
becoming less important, and identity of
economic interest is steadily becoming the



NATIONALITY 5

most important. But it must be admitted
that the whole civilised world is the happier
and the stronger because little Belgium did
not adopt the attitude illuminated by the
quaint persiflage of a leading London
4 Daily ' in its urgent demand for neutrality
on the ground that by keeping neutral now
we should be able to sell enormous quanti-
ties of war material to all the belligerents !
as though war material was, e.g., cocoa.

One thing must be faced ; and, to a life-
long opponent of ' militarism,' in its true
meaning, it humiliates one. It is that the
very rapid consolidation of nationality as
the expression of true democracy, especially
in south-eastern Europe, has been due to
compulsory military service ; and we must,
however reluctantly, face both the fact
that its influence has been democratic, not
dynastic, and the character of that influence
as it appears to skilled observers on the
spot.

As they see it, everywhere the mere fact
of doing his duty to the State seems to have
bred in the conscript a consciousness that
he has honourable claims on the State;



6 INTRODUCTORY

no longer does the State itself risk breeding
its next generation of citizens from fathers
with a minimum of grit and gallantry ; and,
legal pressure being applied to enforce the
hardest of all duties to the State, moral
pressure can concentrate all its higher
influence on the still harder duties of man
to man.

If the phenomena have been observed with
anything approaching accuracy, these little
States are undergoing a veritable resurrec-
tion ; and two things seem certain. The
various units are ripe for the complete
working out of their own internal salvation
if only they can keep themselves free from
those two deadliest foes of democracy,
your politician and his caucus ; and, just
because of that, they will extort full recogni-
tion and consideration from external Powers.



CHAPTER II

NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL
FRONTIERS

THE frontier, in its earliest unconscious con-
ception, seems to have been the extreme
limit of the area from which the people
living within it could obtain the necessary
supplies of food. In what may be called
its ideal illustration, on the steppe, survival
of the little semi-political unit depended on
an adequate minimum of area. If too
small, it prevented the development of any-
thing more than a purely family group ; if
too large, it tended towards incoherence
such as has been the curse of much of the
African savanna, because it gave such
opportunities for European intrigue and
encroachment.

But security was as essential as size to
this survival, and prescriptive rights of



8 NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

pasture were apt to be pushed up to some
conspicuous natural features as lines of
trespass. The most conspicuous features
available as such frontiers, were mountains
and rivers; and the latter were in several
ways the more effective. For instance, what
we call the ' primitive ' river-frontier, has
been particularly useful in half-explored
areas, because it was practically indisputable,
it needed no mathematical plotting, and it
had certain military merits, e.g. of delaying
an enemy and concentrating his energies on
such points as fords and bridges. ' Navi-
gable ' rivers were just as great a hindrance
to the primitive man, especially if purely a
landsman, as they are now a help to the
civilised man ; and the fact that they did
encourage some movement parallel with
their course, has been invested with a much
exaggerated importance.

But a river frontier approximated to the
nature of a line, while deserts, seas, and
swamps were in the nature of a belt ; and
the latter made the better defensive frontier.
The loftier mountains are, of course, also a
zonal barrier ; but the lower mountain plays



PHYSICAL FEATURES 9

an intermediate and special part. It offers
often a geological, always a climatic, change
from the lowland at its foot ; and the con-
sequent differences of human physique and
economic occupation increase with distance
from the political core and with nearness
to the frontier line, the geographical ' control '
i.e. the influence of the geographical con-
ditions on Man encouraging close similarity
of type on both sides of the line. For
similar reasons there must be mixture of
racial type along almost any political
frontier ; and there must be compromise
over the impossibility of drawing a purely
ethnic line, e.g. in Transylvania. In one
case (p. 71) I suggest the advantage of
drawing a frontier deliberately through a
belt of mixed population.

About the position of such physical
features as these, there could be no doubt
or dispute, and some of them were found
to be a real protection to the land marked
off by them. Indeed, their character was
calculated to be protective in a double
way : they prevented intrusion from out-
side, and they focused concentration on



io NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

the full use of all resources inside them.
But the area within them tended to be
relatively small ; and, therefore, the frontier
became a definitely racial agent, so that we
may call a natural frontier also a national
one. For the absence of intruders and the
presence of considerable in-breeding tended
to the production of a marked physical type
and a marked group-consciousness or clannish-
ness, while there was bound to follow how-
ever slowly some advance from a natural
to an artificial basis of supply. National
differences, both physiological and social,
were to some extent, therefore, associated
with marked physical features as frontiers ;
and the influence of region on race supplies
one argument for the universal adoption of
politico-ethnic frontiers. Nationality is one
of the fundamental elements in the problems
facing the frontier-drawers of to-morrow.

Historically, the object of a natural or
national frontier was to protect the group
inside it ; it had no reference to the peoples
on both sides, i.e. it was not international.
The essential object of an international or
artificial frontier has been, however, very



' NATURAL ' IS - ' NATIONAL ' 1 1

similar to that of the natural or national
frontier except in the particular attitude to
the land on each side. In the San Stefano
Treaty there is the definite statement, " The
frontier will be rectified in order to put an
end to the perpetual conflicts between Monte-
negro and Turkey " ; and there is an obvious
expectation that this object will be furthered
by the frontier following " the chain of
mountains by Shlieb and north of Albania
by the crests of the Kopaonik (and other
heights named) to the highest peak of Prok-
leti." The object would have been better
attained in the particular case by a
4 scientific ' frontier, giving Montenegro a
union of natural and strategic advantages
which would have compelled the stronger
power to fight for the approach to the line
of greatest natural strength as represented
by the 4 crest.' But the point to which I
want to draw attention, is the assumption
that, in order to put an end to perpetual
conflicts between two neighbours, there must
be a defensive frontier an assumption which
has no support to-day from either Historical
or Economic Geography.



12 NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

In passing we may notice a further point
as to the relations of the natural or national
to the artificial or international type. In
the evolution of important modern states,
the strength and stability of a unit has
usually varied with the extent to which the
racial area coincided with the political area.
But, historically, at some stage this coinci-
dence of the racial with the political is met
by the question of national expansion. To
this question, so far as Geography is a wide
and unprejudiced Outlook, there can be
only one answer; and it is that the
natural growth of the national unit justifies
geographical expansion only in primitive
times and places. Even so, as all empty
spaces must some day be fully occupied,
territorial expansion is only a temporary
means of shirking obligations. Certainly in
a mature civilisation natural growth can be
legitimately met only by intensive, not by
extensive development at all events inside
that area of mature civilisation.

It is under more or less primitive conditions
that nationality is evolved ; and, though the
word may ultimately come to cover legiti-



NATIONALITY AND EXPANSION 13

mately great variety of race and speech, of
creed and outlook, there must be a balance
of definite advantages to all the various
elements, as, e.g., French, German, and
Italian elements, all enjoy a community
of freedom and good government in Swit-
zerland. Where, however, there is a very
dominant partner, permanent success must
depend on the power of that partner to
attract the others to make them submerge
their political, religious, linguistic, and other
diversities, and to offer a substantial national
gain for the diverse sectional self-denials.

The essential object of statesmanship in
the delimitation of a frontier, therefore,
ought to be to effect an equilibrium along it,
so as to guarantee peoples meeting peace-
fully, and so as to prevent ascendancy
intruding across even by fair means not to
mention foul means. No doubt, the diffi-
culty of effecting this must vary with the
character and density of any population
along it, with the differences in physical
profile of the land on opposite sides of the
frontier, and with the remoteness of the
frontier from its own political core. For



14 NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

instance, one difficulty in the past and it is
still felt in parts of south-eastern Europe
has been the tendency of the lawless and the
criminal to congregate at the farthest possible
distance from the central arm of authority.

Under all the conditions of political life
hitherto there has been, perhaps, only a
choice of evils ; and probably the least evil
was to draw a frontier line as far as possible
through wide, not only uninhabited, but
actually uninhabitable areas. Such areas
have tended not only to defend from actual
attack, but also to keep the peoples on each
side of them from coming into contact ;
and so far they may have minimised causes
and chances of friction. But civilisation is
essentially progress in the art of living
together, and the rubbing off of racial and
other ' corners ' by constant friction with
others is the greatest step to that end. What-
ever the value, therefore, of an uninhabitable
frontier belt, it does not favour progress in
civilisation, though it is obviously better
than an inhabitable frontier zone in which
racial and cultural antagonisms are allowed,
if not actually encouraged.



A 'CIVILISED' FRONTIER 15

It is, however, not the destiny of the
world to be for ever at war ; war is not even
its normal state ; and the conception of
the role of a frontier is already changing,
so that in the future perhaps not the
nearest future the principles underlying
the delimitation of a frontier will be such
as involve all possible aids to the peaceful
meeting of nations, not to their parting.

Three points are of vital importance,
as suggested in the Introductory chapter :

(1) that the feature used as a frontier should
be associated not with war, but with peace ;

(2) that the unit of area should have some
direct relation to national sentiment ; (3)
that inability to assimilate should dis-
qualify any Power for territorial expansion.
Of these the most important is that the
feature used for the frontier should be, as
far as possible, one where men naturally
meet. Obviously, this is not on water-
partings and mountain-crests, or in deserts
and swamps ; and no other science has such
claims as Geography to say authoritatively
what, and where, such natural meeting-places
are. Historical Geography accounts for the



1 6 NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

development of a particular people in a
particular area ; Political Geography relates
a national type to its natural environment ;
and Economic Geography presents the world
as a unit, with each type in its place and
each area playing its proper part. All three
aspects of the science affirm that there are
certain lines along which in every latitude
people tend naturally to meet in peace ; and
the most important, the most universal,
and the most obvious of these is a navigable
river it is also at once indisputable, and costs
absolutely nothing to delimit. Along such
lines even the most discordant elements
have a maximum tendency to concord.
This essential fact underlies all subsequent
suggestions in this little book.

But it is obviously important to remove,
as far as possible, causes of discord ; and
this involves two other considerations which
should be kept in view.

The first is that natural political units
should coincide with actual political units
the racial unit with the geographic,
especially if the particular unit has proved
incapable of assimilation, as e.g. the Alban-



PRINCIPLE OF EQUILIBRIUM 17

ians. It is most desirable that there
should be a minimum of disturbing change,
and it is certain that some minorities must
suffer; but the amount of change must be
sufficient to meet what may be called the
legitimate demands of insistent national
consciousness.

The second of these subordinate considera-
tions is that, in the choice of a new political
owner for any densely inhabited area where
the wish of the inhabitants cannot be made
the guiding principle, full weight must be
given to the capacity or incapacity of that
proposed new owner to assimilate others.

Our frontier-lines, then, must be natural
meeting-places ; they must enclose national
units as far as possible ; and in doubtful
cases the decision must be given against any
fraction of population which belongs to a
type proved to be incapable of assimilating
others. This is the emphatic teaching of
Economic Geography, and it will account for
the devotion of so many pages here to
Historical Geography of Prussia.

Obviously, in such an immensely com-
plicated subject, these conditions cannot be



i8 NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

rigidly enforced, least of all in Europe ;
there must be compromise compromise with
the land as well as with the people. But
it must be compromise which recognises that
there are guiding principles in Political and
Physical Geography, and which is not a trick
of political convenience, still less of political
intrigue. It must also be a compromise
which is based on scientific, not on political,
evidence i.e. on definite knowledge of
facts studied for their own sake, not on
elaborate legal formulae devised mainly for
purposes of ' bluff.' For instance, the Great
Powers even in the Berlin Treaty drew
frontiers along features which they not
only could not name or describe, but which
actually proved to be non-existent.

In the face of such airy carelessness on
the part of our legal luminaries, it is surely
neither premature nor presumptuous to try
to provoke some discussion of the principles
which must underlie the new settlement
that is inevitable for Europe, if not yet
clearly in sight. The matter is made more
important by the sapient attitude of the
Foreign Office to Geography in recent years,



THE CHOICE OF 'EXPERTS' 19

when to mention only one instance it
was decided that Foreign Office and Diplo-
matic candidates for Civil Service Examina-
tions did not need to know any Geography. '
No wonder that we have had curious in-
struction given us with all the aplomb
that graces the lawyer politicians of all our
Political Parties as to the uses and distri-
bution of various products well known to
Economic Geography !

I hope that a profound conviction of the
urgent need for trying some such ' Pacifist '
principles as are here recommended, may
excuse and even justify an expression of
one's grave fears about their application.
For the determining factor in the success or
failure of any European settlement will be
the character of the experts employed on
it. If they are chosen from our typical
lawyer - politicians, whose ability and in-
tegrity (not unhelped by practised readiness,
mysterious jargon, and a close corporation)
enable them more or less to monopolise
parliamentary honours, facts will be sub-
ordinated to formulae. Men who earn their
daily bread and earn |it so successfully



20 NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FRONTIERS

by proving right to be wrong or wrong to
be right, are just in proportion to their
success in doing that unfitted for work
in which the great need is to observe and
interpret facts for their own sake, and as
they really are. The great advocate must
be adroit and plausible ; his instinct must
be for technicalities, not for realities ; his
judgment on facts simply as facts, and
studied for their own sake, and not in
order to support a certain policy or a
certain party, is curiously worthless.

Hope lies in the assurance that the settle-
ment will be made by the Allies in concert.
This may eliminate some of the dangers
involved in our political tendency to sacri-
fice essentials to the scoring of a point ;
for our decadent Party System produces a
plethora of politicians with an almost fatal
absence of statesmen.



CHAPTER III
THE GEOGRAPHICAL KERNEL

BY her original refusal to take part in the
war, Italy as the neutral least antagonistical
to Germany decided indisputably the ques-
tion of who were the aggressors ; and the
world is perfectly aware that the essential
cause of all the political unrest in Europe for
the last twenty years has been Germany,
where a studiously fostered and exquis-
itely ridiculous sense of collective egotism
has had its natural result in the obliteration
of all sense of honour, of humour, even of
humanity.

The presence in the geographical heart of
the continent of a Power that has deified
force, cunning, and corruption, is the funda-


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